South Frontage Road extension to be open spring of 2022 in Vicksburg

Published 9:46 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The South Frontage Road extension is on pace to be open to traffic by spring of 2022, according to Mississippi Department of Transportation officials.

“I spoke with our new construction engineer Michael Hogan and he told me the realignment of the existing frontage road is complete and that road can open up as soon as the guardrails and the permanent signs and the permanent striping is in place,” MDOT spokesman Mike Flood said.

“It’s all dependent on the weather, but it’s looking like spring of next year,” he said. “Everything’s moving along.”

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The completion of the extension will signal the start of another MDOT project to repair and improve the five bridges on Interstate 20 in Vicksburg. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2023.

The bridges designated for work are 4.5A, which crosses Old Highway 27; 4.8A and 4.8 B, which cross Clay Street; and 4.9A and 4.9 B, which cross Old U.S. 80.

The project includes removing and replacing existing bridge rails, end posts and a portion of the bridge deck on all the bridges; installing new guardrails; removing and replacing all existing bridge joints where the bridge spans join together; and installing pressure relief joints at all bridge ends.

Pressure relief joints allow the bridges to expand and contract as temperatures change.

Additional work planned for bridge 4.5A at Old Highway 27 includes pressure washing and cleaning all debris from the existing caps and bearings, removing the pile encasement wall section to repair piles, installing pile repair plates to repair broken pilings and connecting angles.

Also, all exposed steel pilings, connecting angles and the repair area will be painted, new pile encasements — concrete sleeves to protect and reinforce the bridge pilings — will be formed and poured, and the existing exposed steel of the superstructure and bearings will be painted.

The South Frontage Road extension has been discussed for more than 20 years.

In 2007, a Federal Highway Administration study on the project issued a “finding of no significant impact,” clearing the way for the project. Four years later, the Mississippi Department of Transportation bought five properties along the road to secure rights of way for the project, and in April 2015, the Legislature approved $4 million in its fiscal 2015 highway budget to begin planning the South Frontage Road expansion.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen in April 2018 awarded a $1.576 million bid to relocate the utility lines along South Frontage Road to Hemphill Construction of Florence. The project was completed in June 2018.

The Mississippi Transportation Commission in September 2018 awarded the project to T.L. Wallace Construction of Columbia, which submitted the low bid of $17.33 million for the project. The bid was more than $450,000 under the project’s estimate of $17.80 million.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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